PESHAWAR: The Directorate of Curriculum and Teacher Education (DCTE) has revised course contents for both government and private schools to cover the learning losses suffered by students during the pandemic-induced six months campus closures.
“Efforts have been made in the newly-developed accelerated academic calendar to teach the maximum course to the students in the remaining six months of the current academic year,” DCTE director Gohar Ali Khan told Dawn.
The educational institutions were closed in March after the outbreak of novel coronavirus, while their phase-wise reopening began on Sept 15.
Initially, the college and university students and ninth and 10th graders were allowed to return to campus. The students of sixth, seventh and eighth grades will be allowed to attend classes on Sept 23 and those of primary schools on Sept 30.
The DCTE director said the 2020-21 academic year had been shortened considerably due to the school closures over Covid-19 outbreak.
Official says initiative meant to teach students most of course in next six months
According to the official documents available with Dawn, it is imperative that schools shall implement the accelerated academic calendar designed to ensure coverage of all essential skills related to knowledge, skills and attitudes in a shortened academic year. It will provide the schools and students with a roadmap of learning for the current academic year only.
The new academic calendar also provides teachers with guidelines to implement the revised calender and base for the 2021 secondary school certificate examination.
“The schools remained closed till 15th September, 2020. This implies that approximately more than 5 million children in KP lost touch with teaching learning for approximately 6 months; though a small number of students did have access to online and other alternative learning modalities, yet the major portion remained detached from the regular teaching learning process,” a document said.
The documents said the accelerated academic calendar would undertake to serve as accelerated pacing guides for teachers to conduct catch up classes, bridging the lost teaching time, enabling them to complete courses in a short time.
According to them, the accelerated academic calendar has been designed when the boards of intermediate and secondary education and other stakeholders highlighted the need for the development.
The students of matric classes are at the decisive entry point in pursuit of their academic career as they have to appear for the board examination. For this academic session, the teaching learning time available is less than the normal routine.
An official of the education department told Dawn that the decision about what to teach in the remaining six months of the academic year was critical and complex, which couldn’t be left to teachers to decide, so there was a need for careful and technical review of the course contents and academic calendar by subject experts to decide about the contents to be taught to students in the shortened time period without disturbing alignment.
He said the accelerated academic calendar would enable teachers to make effective and efficient use of the time available, cover all essential course contents and help students show good performance in the assessment and examination after receiving structured guidance from teachers.
“It will be mandatory for all education boards to set papers for the 2020-21 annual exam on the basis of content and topics mentioned in the accelerated academic calendar, which has already been shared with them,” he said.
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2020